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* GG (as in “Globally Gifted”)? Try PP (as in “Perpetually Perplexed”)!

July 29, 2015

As someone who has now had over 40 years to reflect on my 10 years (3rd thru 12 grades) of being an MK (Missionary Kid) in Madagascar (I don’t remember doing much reflecting until I was a Junior in high school), I’d like to say I have it all figured out. If asked if I did, I guess I’d probably say what I’ve figured out is I’ll never have it all figured out! It was a big thing that happened to me. One I am very much grateful for, though also I’ve found it to be a bit confusing at times.

At one point I remember someone who knew of my having been an MK telling me they thought this made me “GG” as in “Globally Gifted.” Without evguideen thinking about it, my reply was, “Maybe, but it also makes me ‘PP’ as in ‘Perpetually Perplexed’!” And in good Lutheran fashion, that’s the dialectic I’ve lived with since we first went overseas back in the mid-1960s. I’m neither gifted globally (though I have quite a bit of experience living, working and learning in Madagascar) nor am I perplexed all of the time (for example when I’m sleeping).

One reality of being an MK that I didn’t learn about until later in life is that I grew up on a cross-cultural “bridge” between my parents’ culture and that of my Malagasy friends. While not Malagasy, I’m also not (or at least wasn’t) fully Minnesotan, either. I’m now better at the Minnesotan part of me, in part because I have a much better understanding of the range of experiences this encompasses–there are may of us “immigrants.” In addition, except for several short visits to Madagascar in the last 15 years, we are 20 years removed from having lived there. While by the time we returned to the US to live in 1995 I had lived half of my life (20 of 40 years, roughly 20 of the last 30) in Madagascar, it will soon be just one-third of my life (20 out of 60 years, 0 of the last 20). One of the realities of having lived on this “bridge” is it contributes both to some of my “giftedness” and much of my perplexities. Is this a good or a bad thing? I’d have to answer “Yes!” to that question. Cheers!

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